A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. Kids with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing.

Dyslexia is not a disease! The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means difficulty with words.

There’s no cure for dyslexia. It’s a lifelong condition caused by inherited traits that affect how your brain works. However, most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. Emotional support also plays an important role.

Dyslexia occurs on a continuum from mild to severe and no two are alike. There is no cure for dyslexia since it is neurobiological, however with appropriate evidenced based instruction aimed towards their learning needs.

Dyslexia can create difficulty with other skills, however. These include:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Writing
  • Math

People sometimes believe dyslexia is a visual issue. They think of it as kids reversing letters or writing backwards. But dyslexia is not a problem with vision or with seeing letters in the wrong direction.

It’s important to know that while dyslexia impacts learning, it’s not a problem of intelligence. Kids with this issue are just as smart as their peers. Many people have struggled with dyslexia and gone on to have successful careers. That includes a long list of actors, entrepreneurs and elected officials.

SIGNS

Signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write. A person with dyslexia may:

  • read and write very slowly
  • confuse the order of letters in words
  • put letters the wrong way round – such as writing “b” instead of “d”
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
  • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • struggle with planning and organization

However, people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving.

Before School

Signs and symptoms that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include:

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games

School Age

Once your child is in school, dyslexia signs and symptoms may become more apparent, including:

  • Reading well below the expected level for your child’s age
  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
  • Difficulty comprehending rapid instructions
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Trouble learning a foreign language

Teens and Adults

Dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults are similar to those in children. Though early intervention is beneficial for dyslexia treatment, it’s never too late to seek help. Some common dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults include:

  • Difficulty reading, including reading aloud
  • Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as “piece of cake” meaning “easy”
  • Difficulty with time management
  • Difficulty summarizing a story
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty memorizing
  • Difficulty doing math problems

CAUSES OF DYSLEXIA

People with dyslexia find it difficult to recognize the different sounds that make up words and relate these to letters. Dyslexia isn’t related to a person’s general level of intelligence. Children and adults of all intellectual abilities can be affected by dyslexia.

  • Highly hereditary.
  • A difference in the way the brain processes
  • Challenges in the development of phonological awareness

Strengths that individuals with dyslexia may display include:

  • Inquiring mind
  • Problem Solving
  • Comprehending new ideas
  • Generating ideas
  • Analytic thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • 3-D construction
  • Finding different strategies
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Insightful thinking

COMPLICATIONS OF DYSLEXIA

Dyslexia can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Trouble learning. Because reading is a skill basic to most other school subjects, a child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage in most classes and may have trouble keeping up with peers.
  • Social problems. Left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers.
  • Problems as adults. The inability to read and comprehend can prevent a child from reaching his or her potential as the child grows up. This can have long-term educational, social and economic consequences.

Children who have dyslexia are at increased risk of having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vice versa. ADHD can cause difficulty sustaining attention as well as hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, which can make dyslexia harder to treat.

MANAGEMENT OF DYSLEXIA

Through the use of compensation strategies, therapy and educational support, dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write. There are techniques and technical aids which help to manage or conceal symptoms of the disorder. Removing stress and anxiety alone can sometimes improve written comprehension.

For dyslexia intervention with alphabet-writing systems, the fundamental aim is to increase a child’s awareness of correspondences between graphemes (letters) and phonemes (sounds), and to relate these to reading and spelling by teaching how sounds blend into words. It has been found that reinforced collateral training focused on reading and spelling yields longer-lasting gains than oral phonological training alone. Early intervention that is done for children at a young age can be successful in reducing reading failure.

LINKS: